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Standard Bank shuts even more branches than planned

The full list of 104 closures …

Standard Bank has announced the full list of branches that have been or will be closed, as part of the realignment of “its retail and business banking delivery model”. It will shut 104 branches, 13 more than the 91 it originally announced in March. The bulk of those being shut – 49 – are in Gauteng, with a further 11 and 10 in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively. Nearly one in every five Standard Bank branches is being closed down.

Once the branches are closed (likely affecting more than the 1 200 employees first announced, given the larger number of closures), the bank will have around 525 branches in South Africa (down from 629 at the end of 2018). The ATMs at most (probably all) of these branches will disappear. For those branches in malls, single ATMs are likely already located elsewhere in the centre, while the bank will surely install ATMs at the locations of shuttered branches which are not near other ATMs.

This author argued in April that the cuts were long overdue, more so given the fact that Standard Bank and Absa were behind the curve. Nedbank has been shrinking the floor space of its branch network since 2014 (versus simply shutting branches), while FNB has been catching up quickly. Following these cuts, Standard Bank will have the smallest number of branches of the five large retail banks.

Read: Standard Bank branch cuts are long overdue

The cuts by Standard Bank weren’t random. It knows precisely how many (primary bank) customers each of these branches was serving. Layer this together with the cost of occupancy – primarily rental – and the staff overhead, and it would’ve been easy for the bank to calculate which branches simply weren’t economically viable.

With some older branches, the cost of refurbishment would’ve been factored in too. Obviously, the location of the next-nearest branch was also an influence.

Some closures are obvious. The Standard Bank branch at Old Mutual’s Mutual Park campus in Cape Town, which despite the managed separation still has a cooperation agreement with Nedbank, surely never really made much sense. (Besides, the Pinelands branch is just over 1km away!) So too the branch in MTN’s head office (considering their financial services joint venture quietly died over half a decade ago).

In April, Moneyweb questioned some “obvious examples of overlap. In northern Johannesburg, Standard Bank has a branch at Bryanston Shopping Centre and another at Nicolway, three kilometres up the road. There’s a similar situation at Melrose Arch and Rosebank Mall, or at Dainfern Square and Fourways Crossing (each less than 4km from each other)”.

All three of these branches – Bryanston, Melrose Arch and Dainfern Square – are among the 104 closures that have been announced.

Opening branches at Dainfern Square and Melrose Arch (both under five years old) were examples of spectacularly bad planning. Add to this the branches at Forest Hill, Menlyn Maine and Newtown Junction (all recent openings) which are closing.

Arguably, the hardest hit province is the Northern Cape, considering the vast distances between the affected small towns. Outlying areas in the Free State and Eastern Cape are similarly hit.

The full list of closures announced by Standard Bank (these documents include details of the next nearest branches):

Gauteng

  • Alberton
  • Arcadia
  • Balfour Park Shopping Centre
  • Baramall
  • Benmore Gardens
  • Bloed Street
  • Bracken City
  • Brixton
  • Bryanston Shopping Centre
  • Chilli Lane
  • Cosmo
  • Dainfern Square
  • Daveyton
  • East Rand Mall
  • Edenvale
  • Ellis Park
  • Florida
  • Forest Hill
  • Hillcrest Boulevard
  • Hyde Park
  • Industria
  • Irene Mall
  • Johannesburg
  • Kempton
  • Kwa Thema
  • Lambton
  • Lyttelton
  • Malvern
  • Melrose Arch
  • Menlyn
  • Menlyn Maine
  • Mogale
  • MTN (head office)
  • Newtown Junction
  • Norwood
  • Palm Springs
  • Parkview (Pretoria)
  • Randburg
  • Randfontein
  • Randridge Mall
  • Rivonia
  • Rosslyn
  • Sandton (Alice Lane)
  • Soshanguve Crossing
  • Sunward Park
  • Unisa
  • West End
  • Wonderboom Junction
  • Woodbridge Square

Western Cape

  • Belhar
  • De Rust
  • Grassy Park
  • Hout Bay
  • Melkbosstrand
  • Mitchell’s Plain
  • Mutual Park
  • Philippi
  • Plumstead
  • Rawsonville
  • Strand

KwaZulu-Natal

  • Dales Avenue
  • Hilton
  • Isipingo
  • Mandini
  • Musgrave Road
  • Theku Plaza
  • Tugela Ferry
  • Umkomaas
  • Watercrest
  • West Street

Eastern Cape

  • Alexandria
  • Barkly East
  • Cala
  • Linton Grange
  • Molteno
  • Summerstrand

Free State

  • Bultfontein
  • Jagersfontein
  • Kestell
  • Lindley
  • Marquard
  • Phuthadittjhaba (service centre)

Limpopo

  • Bochum
  • Bopedi
  • Namakgale

Mpumalanga

  • Amersfoort
  • Evander
  • Kamaquekeza
  • Kwa Guqa
  • Mbombela
  • Ogies

North West

  • Cachet Park
  • Klerksdorp
  • Moruleng
  • Tower Mall

Northern Cape

  • Britstown
  • Diamond Pavillion
  • Hanover
  • Kenhardt
  • Kuruman
  • Philipstown
  • Sishen
  • Strydenburg
  • Sutherland

Hilton Tarrant works at YFM. He can still be contacted at hilton@moneyweb.co.za.

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Clearly Standard Bank do no impact studies (on an ongoing basis) of the profitability of their branch network – if they did they would have seen customer drift, loss of footfall in the centres they are in and electronics shift. Very amateurish approach to their network and the costing of each branch

But according to the unions the empty, unprofitable branches must stay open, SO THAT THE WORKERS CAN KEEP THEIR JOBS.

Well, that’s the unions job. When you are a firefighter, you don’t arrange flowers as your job.

Then you will get an e mail telling you your account is going to be closed unless you FICA by 12.00 noon the next day. 260km later.

Banks make me want to puke….

Gotta disagree with Hilton’s approval of Standard Bank’s insanity.

True, cutting floor area and staff cuts costs.
BUT cutting service to customers, already reaching Telkom-MTN-SARS “screw the customer” levels, will also cut customers.

Less customers means the need to increase the turnover per square metre and the recoverability of fixed overheads, the latter bloated by obscene salaries and spending money on “queue tech” (ticket issuing and TV ads for “captive” customers. Saffers have a tendency not to complain (in any case, customercare@standardBank is staffed by semi-literate imbeciles or bots which regurgitate stock phrases and one cannot get through to anyone on their public number) but to vote with their feet (ask Mmusi).

The digital banks are offering “bare bones” service, anything more complicated simply needs face-to-face time; it might be only once or twice a year, but some stuff simply CANNOT be done on the internet, no matter how smart Standard’s arrogant IT nerds deem themselves.

The bottom line will be a downward spiral of losing support, cutting costs and service, losing support,….

There are, in practice, very few things that require a branch visit these days. It makes no sense for any bank to maintain a sprawling branch network. Bank tellers are going the way of typing pool typists – no stopping it.

Not sure there was any “approval”. In many of these cases, the shuttered branches are under 5km away from others that are staying open. How is keeping both open efficient?

Sure, but how far is the nearest branch from Cala, Barkly East, Alexandria and Molteno.
Move to Capitec, cheaper, easier, better, in all respects.

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